Python (ajagar) a non-venomous snake of the family Boidae, order Serpentes. There are 9 species of python, all occurring in Africa, Southeast Asia, New Guinea, and Australia. Pythons are distinguished from the closely related boas on the basis of the skull structure and methods of reproduction. A massively built snake, its girth relative to its length considerably exceeds that of all other snakes, except its own close allies. Scales are smooth, and when the snake is in good condition, appears glossy. The teeth are powerful, but no poison apparatus. Neck distinct, head flattened with a long snout.
Most pythons are semiarboreal, occurring in forest regions; however, they are also found in rivers, haors and jheels. They are quite at home in water; swim deftly and strongly when necessary, but usually remain near the bank partially or wholly submerged except for the tip of the snout. Python is locally known as Ajagar, because of its habit of preying on goat and similar other animals. There are two species of python in Bangladesh, the Rock Python, Python molurus and the Reticulated Python, P. reticulata; the former is the largest of the snakes, and may attain a length of about 5.7 m.
These snakes are found in the mixed evergreen forests of the northeastern and southeastern parts of Bangladesh. The Rock Python, however, is also found in the sundarbans. Both the snakes have become rare and are treated as critically endangered (P. molurus), and endangered (P. reticulata) species in the country.
Pythons feed on mammals, birds and reptiles indiscriminately but seems to prefer mammals. Among the mammals rats, hare, goat, sheep, jackal, and deer are common preys. It kills the prey by constriction and eventual suffocation. Breeding activities start during December-February, and the eggs are laid 3-4 months later. The female broods the eggs by coiling around them. Mother does not take care of the youngs after hatching. The skin of python has commercial value. [SM Humayun Kabir]